The IUSB Vision Weblog

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Government Prosecutors Removed from Sen. Stevens Case; Cited for Contempt by Judge

Posted by iusbvision on February 19, 2009

Remember Senator Stevens from Alaska? Sarah Palin started the ball rolling on exposing corruption in Alaska. This got the attention of the feds to start looking at Senator Stevens who was investigated and convicted, but there is a problem.

We first reported on the prosecutorial misconduct in the case HERE. The prosecutors decided that the defense wasn’t entitled to full discovery and some of the FBI agents working for the prosecution were leaking secret grand jury testimony to other witnesses to “help” with their testimony and leaking other grand jury testimony to the press to help taint the jury pool. At least one agent even took gifts from one of the witnesses in the case.

Then we reported that said FBI agent who was taking gifts from a witness was having sex with said key witness.

Of course the prosecution decided that the judge and the defense did not need to know about these things.

FBI Agent Chad Joy blew the whistle and the judge demanded that government prosecutors come clean. Instead the prosecutors filed a series of incomplete and false statements to the judge and the defense and failed to comply with the judges order.

When discovered the prosecutors apologized to the judge:

The new apology comes on top of a series of errors and misstatements made by prosecutors in connection with the complaint and other issues that arose during and after Stevens’ trial.

But in a new motion filed Thursday on the collateral issues, Stevens’ lawyers cited the latest material from prosecutors as additional grounds for their demand that Stevens’ charges be dismissed over government misconduct, or that he at least get a new trial. And they added a new wrinkle: a request to Sullivan that the government be held in contempt.

“The government still does not get it. Over and over again, it has been caught red-handed making false representations to the Court and the defense,” defense attorney Robert Cary said in his motion, filed publicly Thursday after initially having been submitted under seal Monday.

Not only did the government admit another error, Cary said, but it failed to comply with Sullivan’s order of Jan. 21 to produce every communication in its files about Joy’s complaint and to share that material with the defense.

SHIFTING POSITIONS

In the court documents put on the record Thursday, prosecutors acknowledged they weren’t complying with the literal words of Sullivan’s order but said they thought “other, more specific statements” by Sullivan required only a disclosure of communications related to whether Joy was a protected government whistle-blower.

That issue has been a subplot in the ever-growing post-trial din. Initially, when prosecutors sought to keep the complaint secret, they said he (Agent Chad Joy) was a protected whistle-blower. When they sought to make the complaint public, they said he wasn’t.

As you can see, the prosecution is trying to undermine and stick it to the Agent who did the right thing and blew the whistle already.

Time for Contempt!

Come Feburary 13 the prosecution was still dragging its feet with complaince after the “apology” so…:

WASHINGTON — The judge who oversaw Ted Stevens’ corruption trial on Friday held in contempt four (reduced to three the next day)  Justice Department prosecutors for failing to turn over documents to the former U.S. senator’s lawyers.

Calling their conduct “outrageous” as employees of “the largest law firm on the planet,” U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan told the Justice Department attorneys Friday afternoon that they must give the documents to Stevens’ legal team by 5 p.m.

The judge said he wasn’t going to address on Friday what sort of penalties the contempt citing will have for the Justice Department lawyers. They include the head of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, William Welch; the lead trial attorney in the case, Brenda Morris; the attorney who was handling the work product question within the Justice Department, Kevin Driscoll; and the chief of the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal appeals section, Patty Merkamp Stemler.

The documents in question relate to what prosecutors knew — and when — about the whistle-blower status of Chad Joy, an Anchorage FBI agent who worked on the case. Joy in December accused a fellow FBI agent of an improper relationship with the lead witness in the case, Bill Allen, the former head of the Alaska oil services company Veco. Joy also alleged in his complaint that prosecutors in the case violated FBI policy — as well as the rules for fair trials — during the investigation and Stevens’ trial last year.

The Justice Department maintained that the documents sought by the defense were privileged work documents and not subject to review by Stevens’ lawyers. They include e-mails between attorneys within the Public Integrity Section and others in the Justice Department regarding Joy’s status as a whistle-blower.

Sullivan disagreed with the department’s assertion, and ordered on Feb. 3 that they turn them over. There is a precedent for releasing such work when an attorney’s conduct is at issue, Sullivan said in court Friday.

So the “Justice Department” decided that the judge wasn’t entitled to the documents that would hang them and didn’t comply forcing the judge to put them in contempt and threaten jail for them until they complied. This just isnt a few bad apples. I have been studying prosecutorial misconduct for a long time and almost always it is multiple members of the prosecutorial team and some members of law enforcement who collude to do it. It is institutional.

So now the “Justice Department” is preparing it’s official response to Agent Joy’s report that bew the whistle. This article HERE explains Agent Joy’s report in some detail.  Now the justice department (in what I suspect is a self serving act) has removed the prosecutors from the case. 

One has to admire Agent Joy’s courage. This was his first assignment as an FBI Agent, and he blew the whistle on his colleagues and the “Justice Department”. We are fortunate to have Agent Joy’s service to his country.

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